How to Brush Matted Dog Hair

Hard
45 - 90 Minutes
1 Month

Introduction

Is your dog a matted mess? While some dog owners opt to cut out or clip a dog with mats, other pet owners want their doggy diva to keep looking her best with her long flowing locks intact. Or, if you live in cold climate, you may not want to cut mats out and leave skin exposed to the elements. Brushing out a matted dog may be your best solution in these cases. However, it takes time and patience--and the right tools for the job. You may want to tackle the job in stages so you and your dog do not get tired of the de-matting process and lose patience. Leaving mats is not an option as it compromises the coat's insulative qualities, and moisture caught underneath the mat at the skin frequently contributes to the developments of infections, which can be painful. Besides, a matted dog is unsightly and unpleasant to pet. Keep your dog mat-free to maintain her skin and coat health and have her look her very best.

Dog's Perspective

Ouch! Removing matted hair can hurt! Whether you decide to brush and comb out mats, use a de-matting tool, or have to resort to scissors to remove a mat, having hair pulled away from the skin to handle the mat can be painful. Also, if the mat has been there awhile, moisture that has built up under the mat can cause skin to become inflamed and sore due to fungal or bacterial infections or friction where the mat has rubbed. Inflamed skin will be extra sensitive. Work carefully and slowly and take breaks to minimize discomfort to your dog when brushing out mats.

The Work Mats Out Method

Effective
0 Votes
Spray
Slicker Brush
Pin Brush
Comb
Step
1
Separate hair
Separate matted hair out with a slicker brush. Part non-matted hair away from the mat right down to the skin by brushing non-matted hair away from the mat. Mats are commonly found on the neck, behind ears, under limbs, on the belly and around the tail of your dog. Start at the bottom of your dog and work up, work from feet to neck.
Step
2
Lubricate hair
Use a spray de-tangler for dogs on the mat to make the hair slippery prior to working on the mat. An alternative is to sprinkle cornstarch into the mat. Rub the product into the mat and under all sides of the mat.
Step
3
Work with fingers
Work the mat out by manipulating it with your fingers as much as possible. Hold hair so you do not pull skin.
Step
4
Work out with brush
Use a slicker brush or pin brush to break up the remaining mat. Brush in the direction of hair growth. Keep working hair apart with fingers and brushing until you get down to the skin. Work each area for a little bit then move to another and come back to previous area if not finished, to avoid irritating skin and tiring your dog.
Step
5
Treat skin
If sores are present after the mat is removed, bathe with soothing medicated shampoo such as oatmeal baths. If fungal or bacterial skin infections are present, obtain appropriate medicine from a veterinarian. Brush regularly to prevent mats from reforming. Treat parasites if present.
Recommend grooming method?

The Special De-matting Tools Method

Effective
0 Votes
Spray
Slicker Brush
Pin Brush
Dematter
Step
1
Lubricate hair
Put a detangler spray on your dog. Brush non-matted hair away from matted hair as much as possible to isolate mats.
Step
2
Work out with brush and fingers
Work mats out with slicker or pin brush and your fingers as much as possible prior to using a de-matting tool to loosen hair from mat.
Step
3
Hold mat away from skin
Hold hair close to the skin to avoid pulling on the mat and hold your de-matting comb, also called a mat splitter, in your other hand. A de-matter is a comb with a blade that cuts through the mat.
Step
4
Apply de-matter tool
Carefully use the de-matting tool to work through the mat, loosening hair and cutting the mat where hair cannot be brushed through.
Step
5
Brush out
After the mat has been cut and split, use a pin brush or slicker brush again to brush and remove and loosen cut hair and brush out remaining hair.
Recommend grooming method?

Caution & Considerations

  • You may need to take breaks to give your dog a rest, as working on mats can be uncomfortable for your dog.
  • When working with a mat splitter, be careful not to pull excessively when cutting the mat or hurt your dog with the de-matting tool.
  • If your dog has signs of infection on the skin under mats you may need to treat bacterial or fungal infections with medication.
  • Have patience and work slowly to avoid pulling hair more than necessary.

Conclusion

A matted dog may be uncomfortable, as sores often form under mats due to trapped moisture and friction. Removing the mats is necessary to keep your dog's skin and hair coat healthy, and protect her from the elements. Work slowly with a  brush and fingers to loosen mats or use a specialized de-matting tool to brush and comb out a mat while cutting matted hair if necessary. Using detangling solutions or cornstarch also helps lubricate hair, making the job easier.  Have patience so as not to tire out your dog. Remember, this can be an uncomfortable and tedious process, take frequent breaks when needed to make sure you and your dog do not get frustrated.

Success Stories and Grooming Questions

Book me a walkiee?
Pweeeze!